New Zealand's wine production is expected to leap this year, according to a government report.

Subsequent years' production is also forecast to rise, although not as high as this year, government economists have said.

Analysts at the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said today (1 August) that production should rise by around 20% this year due to what is thought will be a record harvest. With the domestic market growing relatively slowly, the analysts said, an increasing proportion of this wil need to be exported.

"Wine production will be 20% higher in the year ending March 2007 than in 2006," the economists said in projections to 2010. "After 2007, we expect wine production to increase 10% per year until March 2010, as new plantings mature."

While the economists expect wine exports next year to hit 68m litres - with a value of NZ$619m (US$381m) - this climb is forecast to continue, to 77m litres (NZ$761m) a year later, 85m litres (NZ$867m) in 2009 and 92m litres (NZ$964m) in 2010.

In June, New Zealand Winegrowers released the results of its 2006 Vintage Survey, coming in at 185,000 tonnes, an 11% increase on the previous record high of 166,000 tonnes set in 2004.